A body of scholarship has begun to chart the influence of “chat” modes of news delivery on discourse quality as part of what is termed the internal fragmentation of news: the shift from monological to dialogical modes of news delivery (Ben-Porath, 2007). This article investigates the democratic costs and benefits of political discourse contained in these “political talk” news formats. It focuses on four New Zealand programmes and is structured in terms of market (commercial) and non-market (public service) performance. Discourse quality is measured quantitatively by content analysis; the results identify some important democratic trade-offs that market and non-market modes of political talk make. This paper adds to international scholarship by contributing empirical data to research investigating the democratic values of public service and commercial news content; it also enables critical engagement with the issue of the internal fragmentation of news formats by providing a more nuanced account of political talk than previous criticisms.